At the end of a word, "r" is pronounced as a vowel, not as a consonant. So "gute" and "guter" both end in a vowel sound. They're different vowels, though.
gute = /ˈɡuːtə/
guter = /ˈɡuːtɐ/
Listen to the recordings on Wikipedia:
So a softer "er" rather than a harder "ar" sound; this makes sense based on what I've heard... but you should still be able to hear the difference between guter and gute, and way too often I can't, even after I've lost a heart and can see the correct version and re-play the audio clip to try to match what I'm hearing to what I'm apparently supposed to hear...
I had the same problem, and lost a lingot but...I think...and I've love some confirmation ...Freund (noun) is masculine so one has to decline the adjective (gut) with an "er"...thus it becomes "gutter". Feminine (eg Madschen) ends with "e", so "die gute Madschen" and neutral (eg buch) declines with "es" so "das gutes buch". There's more info here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_adjectives
You are mistaken here, though, I fully understand why because it was mindblowing for me as well (in Russian adjestives almost always just agree with the nouns, with no quirks):
- if the word has an article that shows gender and case — only simple forms gute and guten are used ("weak declension").
- if the word does not have any article, "full" paradigm with lots of different endings is used ("strong declension"): guter, gutes, gute.... "Guter Humor" = good humour.
- with "ein"-words a "mixed" declension, similar to the weak one, is used because these words ("ein", "mein", "kein", "unser"..) have the same forms in Nom. Masc/Neu and Acc. Neu. In these three forms you use strong declension instead of the weak one.
Now, looking at your case. You have an ein-word there. Moreover, the form is just "ein", so it is ambiguous which gender or case this is. Thus, you have to use "strong" declension for the adjective: ein guter Freund.
For book it is ein gutes Buch. However, were you to use the definite article, "das" would unambiguously show it is neuter, so the from woul; be "weak": "das gute Buch".
Now, what would you do if YOU are speaking with a good friend? "Ich spreche mit einem.." But now "einem" shows the case: "mit einem guten Freund". You see, "gut" falls back to "weak" form, which is always "guten" for Dative and Genitive (it is only "gute" for Nom. singular and Acc. neu/fem).
"die gute Mädchen" is incorrect (plural would be die guten Mädchen). "Mädchen" is neuter in German ("das gute Mädchen"). Not because Germans are mean but because the word is formed with a suffix -chen, and this one always makes neuter nouns (same as -lein). You see, iut was formed from "Magd" or "Maid", but these are now obsolete, so only the diminutive remains in speech. By the way, it is different from Russian. where for the words that unambiguously state that the person is a "girl", a "grandfather", an "uncle" — their natural biological sex always overrides the gender you would assign judging by the word's ending.
Ein guter Freund spricht mit dir.= A good friend is talking to you.
Mensch, dein Vater gefällt mir = Man, I like your father
The structures are almost the same but in the 1st sentence (which I understand) dir is object but in 2nd mir is subject. How it is possible for mir to be a subject?
That's how verbs work in many languages. Consider this: "seeming" in not really an action, yet in English you say "It seems strange (to me)", not "I seem it strange". Even though it is in fact YOU who perceives "it" as strange.
Some verbs in German, like "gefallen" or "fehlen" work in the same way: what would be the object in English, becomes the subject. And the person who experiences the feeling — becomes the indirect "goal" of the verb, and uses Dative.
It is just that you'd better memorize the govenment of the verb when you learn the verb itself. Because some of the verbs still work as transitive, just like in English (for example, "lieben" is a normal transitive verb, the same as English "to love").
Weeell. First, "ein guter Freund" cannot really have anything other than "guter". Second, "-er" sounds more open than simple "e". Almost "gu-tah".
I don't know how they differ in real speech spoken at real speed, but I bet at least half of native's understanding comes from knowing what to expect there.